Flagler school board votes to oust superintendent

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Another Central Florida school district is forcing out its leader as the Flagler County School Board voted Tuesday night to not renew the contract of Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt.

Before the 3-2 vote, with at least one board member — Christy Chong — citing turnover and staff changes as reasons why she voted to oust Mittelstadt, more than two dozen people spoke Tuesday to say she was a great leader.

“The accomplishments of Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt during her tenure have been outstanding and numerous, even during a two-year pandemic,” one woman said. “She had proven herself to be a strong leader, innovator and steward of placing students first.

Flagler School Board Chair Cheryl Massaro was one of the two board members who voted to renew Mittelstadt’s contract.

“Sitting in a superintendent’s seat today is not an easy job. So many changes coming down from Tallahassee. COVID -- she did a great job there,” Massaro said. “The (other board members’) minds have been made up prior to the vote (Tuesday) night and that’s wrong. It’s politically motivated.”

Mittelstadt was hired as Flagler’s superintendent in 2020 and her contract was set to expire at the end of June.

News 6 learned that the Flagler Chamber of Commerce had also called for Mittelstadt’s firing, adding it was not satisfied with what’s being accomplished and claiming only 49% of county 8th-graders are proficient at reading, calling it a decline from 2019.

Board members now need to find Mittelstadt’s replacement. They’re set to meet again for a workshop on April 18.

Meantime, Brevard County is conducting a search for a new school superintendent, announcing Tuesday that there are 11 semifinalists for the job.

Late last month, the school board voted unanimously to place Dr. Robert Schiller on administrative leave.

The vote came after Schiller made demands for a new contract and some employees complained of a hostile work environment.

School Board Chair Matt Susin said the ouster was a decision that board members didn’t take lightly.

“We had a series of allegations and we then implemented an investigation, and we don’t talk about investigations,” Susin said.